Chinese Grand Prix

2019 Chinese Grand Prix Preview

Charles Leclerc may have made his first major inroads in Formula One but ultimately, his efforts were largely in vain. The Ferrari driver from Monaco started on pole and recorded the fastest lap but the reliability of Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes finally came through to take the Chequered Flag.

Leclerc had to settle for third place and his first podium finish of the season but he’s certainly given punters something to think about as the campaign moves forward. This week, we’re off to China so let’s firstly take a look at how that Bahrain result has affected the long term markets.

Outright Updates

Lewis Hamilton’s victory in Bahrain sees him drop below Even Money to win the Drivers’ World Championship in 2019, He’s odds on to make a successful title defence and can now be picked up at 4/5 with William Hill and 888Sport.

Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas continued his fine start to the season with a second place in Bahrain and he currently leads the World Championship after those two opening Grand Prix. The Finn is, however, just a fourth favourite to win the title and he can be backed at distant best odds of 14/1 with SportingBet.

Between those two drivers are the Ferrari pair of Vettel and Leclerc. Sebastian Vettel has finished no better than fourth in his first two races of 2019 so he sits as third favourite at a top price of 10/3 with Ladbrokes and Coral. Leclerc therefore sneaks in just ahead at 3/1 with BetFred and Royal Panda.

Last season we had a ‘big six’ but at most, it’s trimmed down to five this year. Beyond those four names we have fifth favourite Max Verstappen at a best of 25/1 with 10Bet and Betway and then we move all the way out to Kevin Magnussen at 1000/1 with William Hill.

In regards to the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes are looking ominous now and they are a short priced favourite at best odds of 11/20 with William Hill. The only two additional teams worth considering here are Ferrari at a top price of 13/8 with BetFred and Red Bull at 25/1 with Ladbrokes.

In terms of the Constructors’ Championship, we think that the battle is already over. Mercedes had started the last few seasons relatively slowly but that certainly hasn’t been the case this time around. Thanks to Hamilton and Bottas, they have occupied the top two positions in Australia and Bahrain so, if you want to take a punt in this particular market, we suggest that you do it now.

The Drivers’ version remains open for now so let’s move on to the race markets for China.

Race Winner

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel

Leclerc’s performance in Bahrain has certainly impressed the bookmakers as most have installed him as their race favourite for Bahrain. In other places, his Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel is just ahead at 7/4 with Betway and 888Sport while Leclerc trails only marginally at best odds of 15/8 with William Hill.

Mercedes have been written off to an extent here with Lewis Hamilton quoted at a top price of 11/4 with Unibet and 888Sport while World Championship leader Valtteri Bottas can be picked up at a distant 19/2 with Bethard.

Next up come Red Bull with Max Verstappen listed at 16/1 with Coral and RedZoneSports, followed by Pierrer Gasly at best odds of 80/1 with Betway and 10Bet. As before, we now come to the also-rans led by Kevin Magnussen at that same 1000/1 price with Black Type.

Other Side Bets

The Fastest Lap market was an unpredictable one last year but so far it hasn’t turned up too many surprises. Bottas and Leclerc have delivered the profits so far but can we turn up some outsider value this weekend? Sebastian Vettel also leads this one at best odds of 11/4 with Coral and BetFred while Charles Leclerc is only just behind at a top price of 3/1 with BetFred and Betway.

Once again, the Mercedes pair trail so we have Lewis Hamilton quoted at a best of 4/1 with Ladbrokes - just ahead of Valtteri Bottas at a top price of 9/2 with Coral and Royal Panda. Completing the plausible options this time are Max Verstappen at best odds of 8/1 with Royal Panda and Pierre Gasly at a top price of 12/1 with Unibet.

Our other regular side market is for Pole Position and this week, we have joint favourites. The Ferrari pair of Leclerc and Vettel can both be picked up at best odds of 2/1 with William Hill while Lewis Hamilton is in third place at 12/5 with 888Sport and Bethard. Valtteri Bottas is out at a top price of 9/1 with Sportnation and RedZoneSports.

Elsewhere, you could look at Red Bull’s Max Verstappen at best odds of 28/1 with Betway or Pierre Gasly who is way out at 100/1 with Coral.

Verdict

When this race was last held in 2018, we saw our first upset of the campaign as Daniel Ricciardo came home first in the Red Bull. The Finnish pair of Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen then claimed the remaining podium positions. Sebastian Vettel had started on pole while Ricciardo also recorded the fastest lap.

It was, therefore, a blank weekend for Lewis Hamilton but he is the leading driver of all time at the China GP with five victories and that tally also helps Mercedes to become the leading constructor at this track.

We don’t normally look at the podium finish betting in these previews but with championship leader Valtteri Bottas out at 19/2 to win the Chinese GP, could there be some value this week? That Top Three finish market shows this particular option at best odds of 19/20 with Coral. We had hoped it might sneak above Even Money but that’s not the worst option with which to start our tipping.

As for the race winner, we’re at a stage where, last season, we had an upset in the betting as Daniel Ricciardo came home. There are some seriously tempting prices here and while only Mercedes have made a mark, there is time for others to come through.

For race winner, we’ll stay predictable and opt for Lewis Hamilton. He’s the record holder at the Chinese Grand Prix and that display in Bahrain suggests he’s on course for a sixth victory. For a bigger punt, we’ll take Max Verstappen to return the fastest lap. He ended 2018 so strongly and hopefully that Red Bull still has enough in the tank to open up and deliver another profit.

Best Bets for Chinese Grand Prix 2019:

  • Valtteri Bottas for a Top Three finish at 19/20 with Coral
  • Lewis Hamilton to win at 11/4 with Unibet
  • Max Verstappen to record the Fastest Lap at 8/1 with Royal Panda

About Chinese GP

History

It’s become a traditional part of the F1 calendar and in recent years, it’s provided a point where season-long bets start to look a little more open. As in previous campaigns, the Chinese Grand Prix will be the third race of the schedule in 2019 but what do we know about the race and its background?

The very first Chinese Grand Prix came along at a time when the Formula One Calendar was spreading into other parts of the globe. 2004 was the year that the race entered the schedule and it was won by Rubens Barrichello who had started the GP on pole.

It’s been a permanent fixture on the calendar ever since but, following on from that opening success for Barrichello, who are the drivers who have made their mark here?

Winners

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton

One man stands above all others as the most successful driver in the history of the Chinese Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton took his first race in the McLaren back in 2008 and since then, the Englishman has claimed no fewer than five victories here.

No-one else really comes close and behind Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton share second place with two wins apiece. This race, therefore, is one that underlines just how dominant Hamilton, and to an extent, his Mercedes team, have been in China over the last ten years.

Fastest Lap

In an era when records are being broken on a consistent basis, it’s interesting to note that the fastest lap mark in China has stood since the inaugural Grand Prix back in 2004. Michael Schumacher was the man to set the mark as the German went round in 1:32:238 in the Ferrari.

To put that into context, when Daniel Ricciardo recorded the Fastest Lap at the Chinese Grand Prix in 2018, he was more than three seconds slower in the Red Bull at 1:35:785.

Interesting Facts

We’ve seen that Lewis Hamilton is the most successful driver in the history of the Chinese Grand Prix. Some of his five wins have, in turn, helped Mercedes to become the most successful constructor here and the Germans go into the 2019 renewal with five victories thanks to Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

Just behind Mercedes are Ferrari with four wins and the Italians will therefore be hoping to draw level with their rivals in 2019.

Ferrari do hold one record here: The Italian manufacturer has more podium finishes (12) than anyone else.

This is the largest venue on the F1 Calendar with space for 200,000 race fans.

The great Michael Schumacher’s last race victory came at the Chinese Grand Prix. The German claimed his solitary Shanghai success here, and his last in F1, in 2006.

When Mark Webber came from 18th on the grid to win in Shanghai in 2011, this was, and still is, the furthest back that anyone has come from to take the Chequered Flag.

Lewis Hamilton is the only driver to record more than one Fastest Laps at the Chinese Grand Prix. The Englishman reached this level four times - in 2008, 2010, 2015 and 2017.

Design

chinese gp circuit

Chinese Grand Prix Circuit

Unlike some other Grand Prix, the Chinese race has been held at just one venue since its inception in 2004. The Shanghai International circuit is our destination and it’s certainly one of the more interesting locations on the calendar.

When the circuit was first built, it was the most expensive F1 location in the world costing some $240 million. That figure has since been exceeded by Bahrain but it remains very significant. When China were officially awarded a future GP, the design was handed over to renowned motor racing architect Herman Tillke and he produced a vast, no expenses spared, venue that could hold up to an incredible 200,000 spectators.

As far as the track is concerned, there are early turns making this something of a unique surface. Turns are a common feature with high g force levels experienced on numbers 7 and 8. There is, however, one of the longest straights in motor racing at 1.2km so there is scope for overtaking when possible.

Overall, it’s said to be loved by the drivers but is the China Grand Prix set to remain on the calendar for the long term future?

The Future

Certain races on the F1 calendar might have a guaranteed future but in terms of the Chinese Grand Prix, things seem far from certain. In the past, when the race was running at a loss, there were sustained rumours suggesting that it would be cancelled but so far, it’s retained a permanent place on the Formula One schedule.

All we know at present is that in 2017, the organisers agreed on a three year contract extension that would take the event up to 2020. This will also be the year that new Grand Prix, including the street event in Vietnam, will be introduced so could that mean that certain other races on the schedule will have to give way?

It would be a shame to lose the Chinese Grand Prix because, as we’ve seen, it’s an interesting track that can produce some thrilling races. The future is very much uncertain however so we’ll just have to enjoy the next two editions and hope that its contract is extended beyond that 2020 cut off point.